Sunday, July 09, 2006

On cleaning my room, and why I no longer hoard software CDs

I was just cleaning my shelves today, and was surprised at myself. Over the years I had collected hundreds of CDs distributed with magazines. In fact, I remember we used to subscribe to many of the magazines just for the CDs which came with them. It was almost impossible to acquire software otherwise.

The magazine CDs would usually bundle only trial versions of software, and I'd do all kinds of monkey business to make it run. I would keep looking at the date of expiry of the trial version and meticulously reset my computer's date to an earlier one so that the software would continue running. (Of course, software developers got much smarter later, and started using counters for calculating the number of days for which the software was used!)

Today, I just collected all these CDs and gave them away, without any compunctions (of course I kept a few of the really old CDs as keepsakes!). Two reasons:

a) With the advent of broadband (and since very recently we have an unlimited download subscription at home) we no longer need to rely on these CDs for software. I simply download any tools that I need. It's fast and cost-effective.

b) I no longer use freeware or trialware. I find free and open source tools for almost all my computing needs. I no longer need a "trial" version of Photoshop when I have GIMP. I no longer need trial versions of music editors when I have Audacity. So, I no longer need to rely on the magazine CDs for freeware and trialware. Thank God!

CDs apart, phew, my room looks much neater now! It is easy to collect stuff, but very tough to discard them later. Yet, I somehow managed to clean my room a little. Decided to donate some of my computer science books which I don't use anymore, and that was quite a load off my shelves. Of course, at the end of the exercise, I just did not have the heart to discard any of the old Reader's Digests. So, they continue to adorn my bookshelves, like so many other things I did not have the heart to throw away ;-)